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Jackson Lab Names Interim Managers as Rick Woychik Heads for NIEHS

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A pair of senior managers will lead The Jackson Laboratory on an interim basis as of January, when Richard Woychik steps down as president and CEO to take a new federal government position.

Charles Hewett, Jackson Lab's executive vice president, will oversee all administrative, operating, and mouse resources activities and services. Robert Braun, associate director and chair of research, will oversee research efforts and lead the scientific staff, according to a statement.

Woychik will become deputy director for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, based at North Carolina's Research Triangle Park. Woychik's duties will include creating a strategic plan for the agency and helping to manage its programs and operations, The Jackson Lab announced earlier today.

Woychik's departure is effective Jan. 29. He announced his intention to retire from the Jackson Lab last March, without setting a date.

"The search for a new president/CEO is ongoing but we don't have a date certain for the announcement," Jackson Lab spokeswoman Joyce Peterson told GWDN today.

Under Woychik, who took the Jackson Lab helm in 2002, the laboratory nearly doubled its annual budget from $103.8 million to $192.4 million as of the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The lab also spent $80.1 million on new facilities, including more than 118,000 square feet of new research and support spaces, as well as another 70,000 square feet of renovated research and support space.

Woychik also led efforts to expand Jackson Lab's operations beyond its headquarters campus in Bar Harbor, Me. – by moving into expanded facilities in Sacramento, Calif., where an 85,000-square-foot facility opened in 2009 following a $40 million renovation; and by pursuing plans for a controversial personalized medicine campus planned near Naples, Fla.

The laboratory has said it will employ 244 people by 2020 at the Florida campus, which would anchor a 700-acre "biomedical research and education village" envisioned as housing a mix of commercial, academic, and research tenants. Jackson Lab has pledged to contribute $120 million toward the project, in return for the state and Collier County each promising $130 million in incentives.

"It has been a great honor to serve The Jackson Laboratory," Woychik said in the statement. "I will miss the many fine people who have contributed to the Laboratory's success during my time here, and I am confident that the institution will continue to grow and prosper."

NIEHS is one of the 27 institutes that comprise NIH, and focuses on studying how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease, with the goal of reducing the burden of human illness and disability.

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